William Alonzo "Cat" Anderson grew from a childhood in the
Jenkins Orphanage to become the acclaimed lead trumpet
player with Duke Ellington and one of the most recognized
high-note trumpet players of all time.
Born in Greenville, South Carolina, he was put in the
orphanage after both his parents died during his childhood.
He soon took on the name "Cat," that would stick for the
rest of his life, for his fighting style at the orphanage. His
music career began on larger horns, like the trombone and
baritone, but when he showed considerable talent, the
orphanage granted his wish: he received his first trumpet.
Anderson grew to be a standout with the orphanage bands,
and his first official departure from the orphanage was with
a group of fellow Jenkins players that called themselves the
Carolina Cotton Pickers